Ten man Leicester make their point at Stoke

Stoke City 2:2 Leicester City

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Despite some harsh decisions from referee Craig Pawson, City battled their way to a glorious point at Stoke on Saturday with a late equaliser form Daniel Amartey.

Claudio Ranieri made two changes to his side, with Schmeichel back from injury and Simpson returning from suspension.
Schmeichel was soon in action as Stoke enjoyed a good opening spell and the Danish keeper did well to block a Walters effort from close in with his leg.
There was another good save at the other end as Grant tipped a looping header from Huth over the bar at full stretch.
Grant was called into further action saving a low shot from Slimani and a deflected effort from Vardy, before a fierce Fuchs volley was blocked.
City had their tails up now, but events were about to take a turn.
Just before the half hour, Vardy was shoved over by Johnson as went in for a challenge on  Diouf. He won the ball as he went down, but referee Craig Pawson very harshly judged it to be dangerous play and wielded the red card.

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Ten man City were on the back foot for the remainder of the half and Pawson helped them with their breakthrough in the 39th minute.
As Simpson slid in to try and block a cross from Bojan the ball struck his right hand. Another harsh judgement saw Pawson pointing to the spot, before booking Simpson for something he couldn’t do anything about.
Bojan blasted the spot-kick past Schmeichel to give City an uphill task.
Things were to get worse before half time. Pawson developed Yellow Fever and now every Leicester foul was a booking. King, Slimani, Fuchs and Albrighton all followed Simpson into the book in a surreal spell, and then Stoke grabbed a second with almost the last kick of the half. Imbula crashed a shot against the right hand post, the ball rebounded off Schmeichel and Allen was presented with a tap in.
It was now surely a damage limitataion exercise, as the City players, and even Claudio Ranieri, raged at Pawson as the sides left the field.

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Fortunately, City managed to channel their anger into something much better.
Stoke came out looking for a third that would see City dead and buried, but Schmeichel produced a brilliant save to deny Walters’ firm header from 8 yards and Morgan got a good block on a Pieters volley.
Ranieri made his first changes in the 72nd minute, bringing on Gray and Ulloa for Albrighton and Slimani, and it had an instant effect. within two minutes Gray delivered a fine cross from the right and Ulloa rose at the far post to nod it over line. Although it had been cleared by Shawcross, goal line technology soon confirmed that the ten men were back in the game.
Gray then attacked down the left flank, cut in and fired in what was an on target effort before it was deflected over the bar.
City continued to press forward, determined to get a point, and it arrived with two minutes remaining. Fuchs swung a ball into the box and Amartey rose above the Stoke defence to nod home his first goal for the club, sparking riotous scenes of celebration in the away section.

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In injury time Whelan blasted a 20 yard shot goalwards, but Schmeichel was equal to it, and the ref’s whistle heralded a famous point for City.

They had reacted brilliantly to the car crash of a first half, and although they will be left to count the cost of suspensions, this could prove to be a turning point in the season.

Claudio Ranieri revealed:“During half time we spoke a lot and we continued to believe that something would be possible. They made a fantastic performance.”

Stoke: Grant, Johnson, Shawcross, Martins Indi, Diouf, Whelan (Ramadan 90), Imbula, Pieters, Allen, Bojan (Adam 83), Walters. Subs Not Used: Given, Bony, Shaqiri, Crouch, Ngoy.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Fuchs, King, Amartey, Mahrez (Musa 80), Albrighton (Gray 72), Slimani (Ulloa 72), Vardy. Subs Not Used: Zieler, Chilwell, Mendy, Okazaki.

Referee: C Pawson. Attendance: 27,663.

PHOTOS: Simon Kimber. 
———————————————————————
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